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Google AdWords vs. Facebook Ads: A Head-to-head Comparison [Infographic]

The ultimate goal of digital advertising, like its traditional counterpart, is to acquire maximum visibility and gain utmost attention. And just like the conventional media, you have to be extra cautious when choosing the ad platform for running your search marketing campaigns. Chief among the numerous digital ad platforms are Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. They are very similar but different ad paradigms. So is one a better fit than the other? Well, let’s say if you google up the phrase “Google AdWords vs. Facebook Ads”, you will get hundreds of articles that will either tell you how these mediums are unique to each other or show a hypothetical comparison of test campaign results. None (and we mean none at all) of these websites will give you a head-to-head comparison of real numbers. So if you’re a business owner, who is flat-out busy, you obviously don’t have a ton of time to read detailed articles. What you need instead is a tally of costs and savings. So let’s see just how these two ad platforms fare against each other in hard numbers:

First things first
Search Advertising is completely different from advertising on social networks. That’s because they belong to different environments altogether. While the former caters to already existing demands, the latter generates new demands. The key difference between these two ad platforms lies in your intent and approach. If you’re a digital ad space insider, you’d have noticed that Google AdWords users are slowly moving away from the platform due to rising keyword pricing. For such users, the next obvious choice to reach the masses is Facebook Ads. Some say the search ad giant has shot itself in the foot with such price-hikes, while others believe that AdWords has no threat from Facebook ads at all. Facebook falls way short when compared to Google’s deeply-rooted ad network. At the same time, there are others who argue that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the Google Ad network. As we all know the battle of Google vs. Facebook is a never-ending one, to cut it short, here’s what we think will help you decide which one offers a good bang for your buck:

It’s a given that both platforms have an astonishing reach. From our extensive research, Google (2.014 Billion Users) has more voluminous reach than Facebook (0.984 Billion Users). Google AdWords enjoys 44.10% of the global online ad market share as compared to mere 3.10% of Facebook. On the contrary, in the US online ad market share in the last quarter of 2012, Facebook (16.76%) outclassed Google AdWords (16.50%) by a negligible margin. While Google had a higher number of monthly unique US visitors in 2012, the average time per unique US visitor was dominated by Facebook.

Considering the fact that Google is a much established online ad market player, it would be unfair to Facebook, if one judges their suitability based on their revenue. Still if we have to compare the numbers, Google’s global online ad revenue in 2012 was about $44 Billion as compared to over $4 Billion for Facebook. The average ad revenue per user for Google was nearly 12 times that of the latter. The global mobile ad market is gaining a momentum gradually and so is the average revenue for both the ad platforms. About 1.02% of Google’s overall ad revenue in 2012 came from its top ten advertisers, which was nearly 3% for Facebook.  

Facebook ads have very low click-through rates (CTR) (0.05%) compared to Google AdWords, as well as the industry average. Both platforms enjoy almost similar global average cost per click (CPC). Facebook’s global average cost per impression (CPM) ($0.15) is less than half of that of AdWords’ ($1.60). The online advertisers might consider Google AdWords more effective since it offers a relatively longer global average ad shelf life (30 Days) than Facebook (5 Days).    

So which one should you pick?
Well, let’s just say there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It totally depends upon your digital ad campaign goals and communication objectives. Both these platforms are gargantuan advertising tools and can provide a significant return on your investment. So ideally, it’s best to try them both and then decide which one better matches your overall marketing goals. Also, it’s not a must that you have to choose any one of them. An integration of both the paradigms will give you even higher chances of serving to different mindsets. Let us know your take in the comments below.